The Monsters of my Youth

When I was a boy, I lived in an old house in Saco, Maine. As with most old homes, nights were filled with cracking noises, and soft thuds that sounded like footsteps. My imagination kept me awake for hours at night. I slept with my bedroom and closet doors open wide. In my mind it was better to see the monsters coming for me, than have a door fling open when I least expected. My bed was my safe place. I believed, as long as I was on my bed, my monsters would leave me alone. The exception to my rule lived in the space between my bed and the wall of my room. My bed was set up with a small gap, about 12 inches, between the side of the bed and the wall. The space was left to allow room to make up the bed without crawling all about the top, mussing the covers.

The small space is what haunted my childhood dreams. I was convinced, when the lights were off, my monsters hid in that space, just inches away, waiting for me to close my eyes. Time and again, into the early hours of the morning I would peer over the edge of the bed, heart pounding, ready to scream for my father at the first sign of a monster. 

Now, as an adult, I still don’t feel comfortable with my bedroom door closed at night. My eyes pop open, as I listen from across the house to the ice fall from the machine, and into the freezer container. I lift my head when I hear scratching sounds made by bugs or other unknown forces that hit and rub against the window screen. I look through the doorway of my bedroom, into the dark hallway, still listening to the cracks, and unexplained footsteps of my childhood fears. My monsters follow me still, even now, with my bed placed firmly in the middle of my room.